Apr 222010
 

It’s not what you say but the way that you say it. I just came across this short video that illustrates the point rather nicely (along with multiple meanings of ‘whatever’).

Here the issue was predominantly pronunciation – or intonation to be specific. I think it’s a nice illustration of how meaning is not just conveyed with words. So much more is involved.

 Posted by at 11:10 pm
Feb 082010
 

There are some funny things that go on with the pronunciation of some French words in British-‘merican. Over here, I park my car in a garAGE and watch balLET and we eat fish filLET. It all sounds a touch poncey and affected to my British ear – though perfectly fine in ‘merican, of course. For more see here.

The recent snow storms meant flights to the US were cancelled to so at 3 am US time I called home to tell my husband that British Airways would be putting me up at the Renaissance Hotel in London. The poor guy dutifully did searches for a hotel called the René  Sans.

 Posted by at 5:59 am
May 252009
 

microphoneA lot of the English courses I write come with audio CDs, so periodically I spend a day or two in studios listening to actors performing for the recordings. When I lived in the UK, the American actors often sounded ultra-polite. It seemed over the top for my British ear so I was always asking if they could tone down the upbeat-and-perky and sound a bit more matter of fact.

But since I’ve been living in the States, I’ve noticed the American actors sound great on the first take. Have they all come off Prozac I wonder, or did my ear need to adjust? No doubt the latter so I’d like to apologise to all the American actors I’ve ever asked to do a retake.

 Posted by at 9:11 pm